Blue Jays 3, Angels 2(10)
Ricky Romero is ending his season on a serious roll.
Adam Lind drove in the winning run with a grounder in the 10th inning and the Blue Jays beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on Monday night before a tiny crowd in Toronto, improving to 10-0 at home in extra innings.
Romero didn't figure in the decision but it was still a superb effort from the Toronto ace, who matched a career high by working nine innings. The left-hander allowed two runs and six hits, walked none and struck out five.
''He has really matured and he has emerged as a front-line starter,'' manager John Farrell said.
''I was trying to get something up and out over the plate because anything middle-in is going to cut and break your bat,'' Hunter said. ''The two-seamer was working, the changeup, the curveball, you name it. He threw everything but the kitchen sink. He was on top of his game tonight.''
Twenty of the 27 outs Romero got came on grounders.
''They came out swinging and it worked to my advantage because that sinker was working today and they kept pounding it into the ground,'' Romero said.
The crowd of 11,178 was Toronto's second-smallest of the season, and well short of the 18,556 who showed up just down the street to watch the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs open their preseason schedule against the Ottawa Senators.
The Blue Jays drew a season-low 11,077 fans for an April 5 game against Oakland.
Romero, who has lost just once in his past 11 outings, will try again for his career-high 16th win when he pitches at Tampa Bay on Saturday.
''I feel strong. I feel about as strong as I did opening day,'' Romero said. ''It's crazy to think this is the last start here at home, but it feels good to leave on a high note.''
Los Angeles will also be rooting for Romero to beat the Rays this weekend. Losers of three of four, the Angels trail first-place Texas by five games in the AL West and are behind both Boston and Tampa Bay in the wild-card race.
''We'd better step our game up if we want it,'' Hunter said.
The Angels wrap up their road schedule with three more games in Toronto before going home Friday. Oakland visits for three over the weekend and the season ends with a three-game series against the first-place Rangers that starts next Monday.
''All is not lost,'' Hunter said. ''We just need to be within three come Monday.''
After Thames was forced at second on Jose Bautista's fielder's choice, Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought in Hunter from right field to serve as an extra infielder. Lind hit a grounder that Hunter fielded between first and second but his throw to the plate was low and wide, allowing McCoy to slide in safely.
''They got me to roll it over, but I hit it to someone used to being 300 feet away, not 90 feet,'' Lind said. ''I know he's got a lot of Gold Gloves, but they were as an outfielder. I guess I hit it to the right area.''
Hunter, who has been brought into the infield before, said he had almost no margin for error on the pivotal throw.
''Tough play, man,'' a frustrated Hunter said. ''My momentum was carrying me to my left. I had everything going on. The baserunner was in my way, Trumbo got in my way and my momentum just wouldn't let me set my feet.
''It had to be right there. It had to be perfect,'' he added.
Casey Janssen (6-0) pitched around a leadoff double in the 10th to earn the win.
Hunter led off the second with a homer to center, his 21st, but Toronto answered with two runs in the fourth.
Angels right-hander Jerome Williams walked Edwin Encarnacion to begin the inning, and Kelly Johnson followed with a bouncer to the mound. Williams made a barehanded grab but threw wildly to second, allowing Encarnacion to advance on the error.
''He just rushed the throw to second,'' Scioscia said. ''You really just need to set your feet for the play at second and get an out on that ball.''
The Angels tied it again in the fifth when Trumbo led off with a shot to center, his 28th.
Making his fifth start of the season, Williams allowed two runs - none earned - in 6 1-3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.
Hisanori Takahashi pitched one inning of relief, but was replaced by Bobby Cassevah after Thames drew a one-out walk in the eighth. Bautista grounded into a fielder's choice, with second baseman Howie Kendrick making a fine play to get Thames at second, and Lind grounded out to end the inning.
NOTES: Hunter threw out Thames at second in the fifth, his career-best 15th outfield assist. ... Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar (left elbow) missed his seventh straight game. Escobar, who played catch and ran on the field before the game, has not played since being hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Rick VandenHurk on Sept. 10. ... Thames started for Toronto one day after being cut on the right eyelid by a foul tip.